Our Attorneys Answer Common Questions About Drug Possession
Drug crimes can range from minor offenses, such as small amounts of marijuana, to very serious offenses such as large amounts of cocaine and heroin. The seriousness of the charge depends on the type of drug possessed and the amount of the drug that is found in one’s possession. Although there has been decriminalization of some drugs that have led to less serious charges being filed against individuals, there are still numerous drugs that have not been decriminalized.
Numerous prescription drugs are commonly found in medicine cabinets throughout this country. Moreover, with the increased abuse of commonly prescribed painkillers and opiates, a person can find themselves potentially being charged for possessing drugs despite having a legitimate prescription. If you are charged with possessing drugs, it is important that you hire a skilled and experienced attorney to protect your rights and represent you on these charges. Numerous defenses can be asserted on your behalf. Numerous court-monitored programs may permit your attorney to have your case diverted to a problem-solving court, also known as drug treatment court. If your case gets diverted to drug treatment court, it may be disposed of with a lesser charge than the original charge and an increased likelihood that there will be a nonjail or a noncriminal disposition.
Hiring the experienced attorney at Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., who is aware of the various options and defenses in drug possession cases is imperative to maintaining your freedom and getting the treatment that you may need.
I was arrested for possessing drugs that were not in my possession. Can they still prosecute me?
Under New York State law, there is a concept called constructive possession. Possession can be actual or constructive. Actual possession is where drugs are in your actual possession or on your person. Constructive possession is where the police find drugs in an area or container that was in your dominion and control. Generally, a person can constructively possess drugs when that person exercises a level of control over the area where the drugs were found and the control was sufficient to give the person the ability to use or dispose of the drugs. For example, if you are alone in an automobile and the police stopped the car and found drugs in the car but not in your actual possession, you can be charged with possessing the drugs that were found even though the police never saw you actually possess the drugs. Similarly, if there are several people inside of an apartment and the police find drugs inside of the apartment, all of the occupants can be charged with possession of the drugs even though the police never saw anyone inside the apartment actually possess the drugs.
Although the police and prosecutors may be able to charge a person with drug possession, the prosecution is still required to prove each and every element of the drug possession charges beyond a reasonable doubt. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., can present evidence to conflict with the prosecutor’s allegations and cast a reason to doubt the evidence presented.
What are the most important things that you need to tell your attorney if you were charged with drug possession?
You must tell your attorney everything that happened from the moment that the arresting officers stopped or approached you and up until the time that they finished processing you at the precinct. The reason for the officers to approach you or stop you is called the “predicate” for the stop. This is an important legal concept that must be explored by your attorney in order to determine whether or not the officer’s conduct was lawful. The circumstances leading up to the search and the actual areas that were searched are also important for your attorney to know. The questions that the police asked you when they stopped you and prior to searching you, your car or your apartment are important for your attorney to know. These things may not seem important to you as the client, but they are extremely important for your attorney who is representing you on these charges.
Will I go to jail for possessing drugs?
Whether or not you will be facing jail time depends on a variety of different factors. The first being whether or not you’ve had prior contact with the criminal justice system and whether or not you have any prior convictions, most importantly felony convictions. The next factor is whether or not you possessed a quantity of drugs that carry mandatory state prison time. The next factor to be determined is whether or not the drugs and any items seized along with the drugs give the impression that the client was selling drugs for a profit versus selling drugs to support their habit. This fact is important because it could make the difference between someone going to jail and someone going to a drug treatment program to help them with their drug problem.
The experienced criminal defense attorney at Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., will diligently investigate your case, defend your rights and, if necessary, present evidence to the prosecutors to convince them that either dismissal or a nonjail disposition is the proper way to dispose of the case. Call our New York City office at 833-563-9522.